Grassroot Perspective – Jan. 14, 2003-The DDT Ban Turns 30; The Sorry Plight of Canada's Socialized Health-Care System; Affordable Health Care

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Dick Rowland Image ‘Shoots (News, Views and Quotes)’ – Natural Resources and Environment The DDT Ban Turns 30 By Todd Seavey Thirty years ago, on June 14, 1972, the Environmental Protection Agency’s first administrator, William Ruckelshaus, rebuffed the advice of his scientific advisors and announced a ban on virtually all domestic uses of the pesticide DDT. This was done despite the fact that DDT had earlier been hailed as a “miracle” chemical that repelled and killed mosquitoes that carry malaria, a disease that can be fatal to humans. Now, thirty years later, it is vividly apparent that DDT was not hazardous to human health and that the banning of its domestic use led its diminished production in the United States — and less availability of DDT for the developing world. American Council on Science and Health, 1995 Broadway, Second Floor, New York, NY 10023, 212/362-7044, fax 212/362-4919 – The Sorry Plight of Canada’s Socialized Health-Care System In Canada, health care is a state monopoly — socialized medicine called “universal care” — that has developed a deservedly bad reputation, observers say. A new study from the Vancouver-based Fraser Institute documents the system’s failure: *1. Despite spending more money per capita than any other country with a similar system, Canadian health care ranks on a par with that of Turkey, Hungary and Poland. *2. Canada ranks 18th in access to MRIs, 17th in access to CT scanners, eighth in access to radiation machines and 13th in access to lithotripters, which are used for treating kidney stones. *3. Canadians do somewhat better in terms of health-treatment outcomes — but that is due in part to their option to come to the U.S. for services that would be unavailable or dangerously delayed at home. *4. All of the countries that beat Canada in outcomes have parallel systems of private health insurance and care delivery operating alongside the government system. In another survey, 6 in 10 Canadians told the Canadian Medical Association they expect the quality of care to worsen over the next five years. Canada is often held up as a model of universal health care the U.S. should emulate by lobbies such as Families USA and politicians who seem set on socializing health care. For example, the Senate refused to add a drug benefit to Medicare because Democrats insisted it be provided through the Health Care Financing Administration — which some observers call the worst bureaucracy in the world. At the same time, liberals oppose reforms that would aid those without insurance, such as relief from costly insurance mandates, or equalizing the tax treatment of employer-provided and patient-purchased policies. See Daily Digest 9/3/02 ‘Roots (Food for Thought)’ – Affordable Health Care Oregon Health Choice Program kicks off with SimpleCare Cascade launched the Oregon Health Choice Program in January. This three-year educational initiative will advance ideas and policy alternatives that: reduce public and private health care costs; protect the patient-physician relationship; and improve consumer choice in Oregon’s health-care sectors. Cascade debuted the Oregon Health Choice Program on Feb. 28 and March 1 with a full schedule of media interviews, private meetings and public forums featuring Dr. David C. MacDonald, co-founder of the American Association of Patients and Providers (AAPP). One AAPP program gaining local, national and international attention is SimpleCare. Speaking before audiences of physicians, medical school students, insurance agents, and other members of the medical community in Salem and Portland, Dr. MacDonald explained that SimpleCare was originally founded to help the uninsured afford medical care. “Why is it the uninsured are coming in and paying retail prices for health care when they incur no insurance-related costs?” he asked. “Why don’t we at least give them the same deal we give to insurance companies?” With those questions, SimpleCare was born. SimpleCare’s operating principle is that physicians charge less when patients pay for routine medical care at the time of service. Fee for service allows physicians to cut their billing and insurance-related administrative costs, often by 30 to 50 percent. With less paperwork, doctors have more time to spend with patients, which makes for greater job satisfaction and better patient care. “For people unable to pay even the lower cost of care at the time of delivery, the AAPP is working to offer a low-interest medical credit card so they can make payments over time,” MacDonald said. Further, in the spirit of Hippocrates, the AAPP has developed the Cares for America program, which asks SimpleCare providers to accept some patients each month who cannot pay for their health care services. Those patients are asked to volunteer time with a non-profit within 90 days as a way to pay their bill. “Insurance still has its role to play,” said MacDonald. Though SimpleCare was created with the uninsured in mind, he recommends that individuals and businesses use SimpleCare coupled with inexpensive, high deductible insurance policies. “Pay cash for routine care, insure for unforeseen, catastrophic events-just like you do with your home or car,” MacDonald advised. SimpleCare can work well for businesses that offer flexible spending accounts, Section 105s, and Medical Savings Accounts, which are basically Individual Retirement Accounts for health care. The latter would allow wealth to accrue, and could ultimately become a self-funding source for one’s health and long-term care insurance. “We chose to launch the Oregon Health Choice Program with SimpleCare because it is a working solution that is being adopted by many Oregon doctors,” said Cascade vice president Kurt T. Weber, who is coordinating the Institute’s health policy work. “Moreover, SimpleCare offers an excellent model for improving health care and lowering costs by returning insurance to its rightful role: protection against major unforeseen events.” Weber notes that on the immediate horizon Cascade is organizing a Portland seminar to highlight solutions that businesses, organizations, and individuals can implement immediately to have better health care while controlling or lowering costs. Options to be covered include flexible spending accounts, Section 105s, Medical Savings Accounts, and other innovative tools. See or read Cascade Commentary, “SimpleCare helps cut health care costs,” at ‘Evergreen (Today’s Quote)’ It must be obvious that liberty necessarily means freedom to choose foolishly as well as wisely; freedom to choose evil as well as good; freedom to enjoy the rewards of good judgment, and freedom to suffer the penalties of bad judgment. – Ben Moreell ”See Web site” ”for further information. Join its efforts at “Nurturing the rights and responsibilities of the individual in a civil society. …” or email or call Grassroot of Hawaii Institute President Richard O. Rowland at or (808) 487-4959.”